Stealing From Parking Meters Could Get You Rich and Jail Time
John P. Corea, the former director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, has pleaded guilty to official misconduct for his role in the theft of $600,000 by a Toms River contractor whose company was hired by the City of Hoboken to collect coins from city parking meters.
“This defendant corruptly exploited his public office, at a high cost to the City of Hoboken,” says State Attorney General Paula Dow. “We are seeking a lengthy prison sentence for this flagrant betrayal of trust.”
The state will recommend under the plea agreement that Corea be sentenced to eight years in state prison, including three years of parole ineligibility. He must pay $300,000 in restitution to the City of Hoboken and will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
In pleading guilty, Corea admitted, among other things, that, while director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, he steered three separate no-bid contracts to United Textile Fabricators to collect, count and manage the coins from the city’s parking meters. He admitted that he made false statements to the city council about the qualifications and experience of the company, which is a coin-operated arcade game manufacturer. He further admitted that he came to believe that United Textile and its owner, Brian A. Petaccio, 51, of Toms River, had stolen a substantial amount of the city’s parking revenues, but did not take any steps to stop the thefts or notify the city.
Petaccio pleaded guilty two years ago to an accusation charging him with second-degree theft by unlawful taking for stealing more than $1.1 million in coins from Hoboken’s parking meters between June 2005 and April 2008. He faces up to seven years in prison under his plea agreement and also must pay $300,000 in restitution to the City of Hoboken. After an audit in 2007 uncovered parking revenue shortfalls, Petaccio and his company returned approximately $575,000 to the city, but he admitted, in pleading guilty, that he diverted an additional $600,000 that was not reported to the city.